TokBox is launching a developer SDK for the new Apple TV that brings its interactive voice and video capabilities to the small screen. With this feature, the company said, viewers can consume live video content from an OpenTok-powered application right from a tvOS device from the comfort of their living room.
“We believe that we’re on the cusp of something very large within the broadcast space,” said TokBox chief executive Scott Lomond. “This platform, given its characteristics to be running in this formation with low latency, gives new generations of broadcasters the ability to embrace their fans and audiences.”
While TokBox does give developers the capability of incorporating video interactions into their tvOS apps, it’s a tad premature since the Apple TV currently doesn’t support a webcam or permit interactions. However, once that’s done, TokBox wants to be the first out of the gate. Lomond believes that expanding coverage with the new SDK will open up a whole new set of opportunities around live or recorded media — user-generated broadcasts, classes, seminars, or whatever an app producer may want.
“Developers want something similar (to Periscope, Meerkat, and Twitch.tv) and better,” Lauren Slattery, senior marketing manager at TokBox, told us. “What we started to build was interactivity. While you’re streaming with an OpenTok-powered application, if someone wants a conversation, the [content creator] can bring them ‘on stage’ with them.”
“People want to control their own experience,” Lomond said. “They don’t want to surrender control over the whole experience to a third-party app. Our high-performance platform allows media to flow in real time. An audience member can react right away if they see something that they want to comment about.”
In the future, we can posit, you could have a Blab-powered video conversation right from your television, or when you’re playing a multiplayer game, you can have video chats with other participants. Perhaps if you have a community-oriented application and want to engage people, maybe you could host a livestreamed event right from within the app on the TV.
The company also revealed that it has launched a new product called Spotlight that gives companies the ability to create interactive broadcast shows online. The first partner to feature Spotlight is Fox Sports, which debuted its Fox Sports Huddle weekly chat show about college football.
With Spotlight, developers can offer video conversations beyond one-to-one chats. No plugins are necessary, nor do you have to visit a third-party website. TokBox said its solution can be added to any website with “minimal development work.” So if you’re watching professional commentators recap the UFC fight between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holms this weekend and they ask you to “join the conversation,” broadcasters could simply pull you “on stage” and have you video chat in right from the show’s website — no need to connect via Skype or Google Hangouts.
TokBox said that Spotlight is the “first time WebRTC has been utilized at such scale within a broadcast environment.”